What is Autogenic Training ?
Autogenic Training or Therapy is a deep relaxation technique similar to yoga and meditation.
By carrying out short and simple daily visualisation exercises, the mind is able to turn off the ‘fight or flight’ stress response and become profoundly relaxed, calm and re-energised. During this time, the mind enters a state of altered consciousness and the heart rate slows down, blood pressure lowers and the immune and digestive systems both work better. According to one expert the name ‘Autogenic’ meaning ‘self-generated’, sums the technique up very well: ‘you carry it out by yourself, for yourself, with yourself and because of yourself!’
German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz developed the technique after reading about patients’ experience of relaxation during hypnosis. He published his first edition of Autogenic Therapy in 1932, setting out six autogenic formula which are still used today. Autogenic Training is available on the NHS in London.
It can help if…
Autogenic Training can help in many stress-related conditions, including anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, mild depression, migraine, sleep problems, asthma, stress, fatigue, grief, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and high blood pressure.
You may be referred to a therapist for a specific condition or you can go on an 8 to 10-week course to learn Shultz’s six standard ‘formulas’. After an initial assessment, you focus passively on a different part of the body: heaviness in the arms and legs; warmth in the arms and legs, warmth and heaviness in the heart area; breathing; warmth in the abdomen and coolness in the forehead. For each formula, you have to silently repeat a phrase whilst sitting or lying in a special position. Eventually, you can carry out the exercises for around 15 minutes, three times a day, on your own.
For more information, see the British Autogenic Society.